EDITORIAL – A victory for Africa’s World Cup
SOUTH AFRICA has been the centre of global attraction for the world over the past few weeks, thanks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Every four years, the contest is held in different continents and South Africa surprised many when it was chosen as the venue for an event of such significance. The criticism of the ability of South Africa to successfully host the World Cup has rightfully evaporated after a near faultless three weeks. The exhilarating World Cup 2010 came to an end on Sunday with European football giants Spain emerging as the new world champions in a befitting finale against the Netherlands. Dubbed by the critics as the “greatest show on earth”, the month-long extravaganza put in shade nearly all significant geopolitical developments around the world to keep billions glued to their television sets. It was a spectacular achievement and a moment of pride for all Africans. In addition, it seemed to have inspired racial harmony (even if temporarily) which was a critical factor, given the fact that the event was held in South Africa which worked assiduously to ensure an incident-free World Cup. Though struggling in practically every possible way after the darkest days of apartheid, the nation with its “exotic mix of black, white and brown” should be understandably proud of its ten first-class international venues for the month-long event from June 11.
Packed stadiumsThe stadiums had been full and it was indeed a great event. The global profiling of South Africa and the future spin-offs would become a reality as a result of hosting an event of this magnitude. However, the tourist industry is the single biggest beneficiary of the FIFA extravaganza, in monetary terms.The revenues from advertising and broadcasting rights will also be a lasting legacy which will definitely be an economic stimulus for South Africa in the midst of the current global economic downturn. In fact, the impact of the event transcends its athletic aspect and appeal. The socio-economic effects of the tournament will be felt long after the curtain has come down on the greatest sporting spectacle on the planet.The championship unites the people of the world on a common platform for one month. No other event – sporting or non-sporting – has this kind of an impact. People gather at meeting places, homes and parks or cafes for 90 minutes of entertainment, excitement and “magic” on the field. No matter who wins or loses, the game always wins in the end. Clearly Africa’s first football World Cup did indeed win.